CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Citadel center Cliff Washburn tied his career high of 23 points, while The Citadel received 17 points from Michael Joseph and 14 from Travis Cantrell as the Bulldogs thumped East Tennessee State, 74-61, in Southern Conference basketball action Saturday afternoon at McAlister Field House.
With the victory, the Bulldogs improve to 10-3 on the season and 2-0 in league play while the Bucs slip to 8-5 overall and even its league record at 1-1.
After ETSU took a 29-22 halftime lead into the locker room, The Citadel opened the second half with a 17-7 blitz. In that spurt, Cantrell connected on two three pointers and Washburn made four free throws, two of which tied the game at 34 apiece at the 17:18 mark. Joseph's put back with 15:38 left in the game handed the Bulldogs a 39-36 advantage.
With 14:43 remaining, Michael Tolliver hit a jumper from the left side to knot the score at 41-41, but Washburn responded with two more free throws at the 14:15 mark and then responded with another put back with 13:32 left, handing The Citadel a 45-41 advantage.
"We didn't panic at halftime," said coach Pat Dennis, whose team reached the 10-win plateau faster than any of his previous nine seasons at The Citadel. "We made some adjustments and then Travis (Cantrell) opened the second half with a three-pointer and that got our crowd going. This is a great win for our program."
ETSU has dominated the series, that began in 1962, 35-13, and had won 21 of the last 22 meetings. The Citadel's home winning streak is now extended to 12 games, including last year, and improves its home mark to 8-0 this season.
"We just couldn't get anything done offensively or defensively," said Bucs coach Ed DeChellis. "We took some bad shots at untimely times, but we'll get better as the season goes on."
Leading ETSU in scoring were Jerald Fields and Zakee Wadood, who each had 13 points, and Tolliver chipped in 10. Wadood was the top rebounder with eight, while he established a career high with four blocked shots.
"We knew that if we kept them in the 60s defensively, we'd have a chance, and we did," Dennis added. "We stepped it up and rebounded well.
"Washburn had a `monster' game and he played like Karl Malone," he added. "Cliff just wore them down and he needed a big game."
The first half was all ETSU as the Bucs held the Bulldogs to just 21.2 percent shooting from the floor. The Citadel finished shooting with a 36.1 percentage as compared to 37.9 for ETSU. The Citadel also won the battle of the boards, 45-36, with Washburn grabbing nine and eight each by Romas Krywonis and Joseph.
Cantrell connected on a two-pointer from the left side with 48 seconds left in the first half to record his 1001st career point, making him the 19th player in Citadel history to score 1,000 points.